Ascension (B)
May 13, 2021
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.









Gladden us with holy joys, almighty God,
and make us rejoice with devout thanksgiving,
for the Ascension of Christ your Son
is our exaltation,
and, where the Head has gone before in glory,
the Body is called to follow in hope.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Reading Acts 1:1-11

In the first book, Theophilus,
I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught
until the day he was taken up,
after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit
to the apostles whom he had chosen.
He presented himself alive to them
by many proofs after he had suffered,
appearing to them during forty days
and speaking about the kingdom of God.
While meeting with them,
he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem,
but to wait for "the promise of the Father
about which you have heard me speak;
for John baptized with water,
but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."

When they had gathered together they asked him,
"Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"
He answered them, "It is not for you to know the times or seasons
that the Father has established by his own authority.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you,
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,
throughout Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth."
When he had said this, as they were looking on,
he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.
While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going,
suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them.
They said, "Men of Galilee,
why are you standing there looking at the sky?
This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven
will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven."

Responsorial Psalm Ps 47:2-3,6-7,8-9

R/. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.

All you peoples, clap your hands,
shout to God with cries of gladness,
For the LORD, the Most High, the awesome,
is the great king over all the earth.

God mounts his throne amid shouts of joy;
the LORD, amid trumpet blasts.
Sing praise to God, sing praise;
sing praise to our king, sing praise.

For king of all the earth is God;
sing hymns of praise.
God reigns over the nations,
God sits upon his holy throne.

Second Reading Eph 4:1-13

Brothers and sisters,
I, a prisoner for the Lord,
urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the spirit
through the bond of peace:
one body and one Spirit,
as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.

But grace was given to each of us
according to the measure of Christ's gift.
Therefore, it says:
He ascended on high and took prisoners captive;
he gave gifts to men.

What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended
into the lower regions of the earth?
The one who descended is also the one who ascended
far above all the heavens,
that he might fill all things.

And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets,
others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers,
to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry,
for building up the body of Christ,
until we all attain to the unity of faith
and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature adulthood,
to the extent of the full stature of Christ.

Gospel Acclamation

Gospel Mk. 16:15-20

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Go into the whole world
and proclaim the gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned.
These signs will accompany those who believe:
in my name they will drive out demons,
they will speak new languages.
They will pick up serpents with their hands,
and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."

So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them,
was taken up into heaven
and took his seat at the right hand of God.
But they went forth and preached everywhere,
while the Lord worked with them
and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.

Catena Nova

[Where the Ascension is celebrated on Sunday, please refer to the entry for the Seventh Sunday of Easter]


Cloudy. . .With Some Sun

            They saw the cloud before: the cloud which took him from their sight the day he ascended into heaven (I).  It was also there the day he was transfigured when a cloud appeared and covered them (Mk. 9:7). Both clouds appeared on a mountain.  The first one hid Jesus for just a while.  But this one keeps him hidden, until he comes again.

            Two men were there the other time the cloud appeared: Moses and Elijah. There are two angels here today: dressed in white garments (I).  But like the cloud, they’re different too.  They’re more like the pair Luke told us about in the empty tomb, Easter morning.  You remember: the ones who asked, Why do you seek the living among the dead? (Lk. 24:5)  Though their question today betrays the same impatience: Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky?  This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven (I).

            And there’s one final difference between then and now. Jesus came down the mountain of transfigura­tion to face death.  According to Luke, that was the topic of conversation with Moses and Elijah: they were speaking of his departure which he was about to accomplish at Jersualem (Lk. 9:31).  Today, however, it’s the disciples who make for Jerusalem -- and their own share in the Lord’s passion.  Glory, for the time being, will be obscure: like the cloud that took him from their sight.

            So the two mountains -- of the transfiguration and of the ascension -- with their different clouds remind us of an important truth: how God, at one time, appears, oh so present, and at other times, oh so absent.  How, at one time, we sense God’s presence surrounding us with dazzling light, and at another, God’s absence, shrouding us like thick fog.

            Meaning the cloud of transfigura­tion is a cloud of presence.  Like the one which led the Hebrews in the desert; or the one that fell on the tent where Moses conversed with God face to face; or like the cloud of God’s glory which filled the ancient temple: all signs of God’s presence: Clouds that reveal more than they hide: Clouds from which God’s voice is heard.

            But the cloud of ascension is a cloud of absence: A cloud that hides more than it reveals. Like the cloud that fell on Mt. Sinai when God made covenant with Israel, this cloud shields from view. And though Jesus continues to work with us, with signs that accompany those who believe (cf. G) -- well, they’re just that -- signs --  and we have no clear proof of his presence.  So the most we can say is this cloud of ascension signals him present-in-absence, present in mystery.

            Which is why the Lord’s ascension is a bittersweet feast: with the future and the present, glory and humility, freedom and captivity, all mixed togeth­er:  For, yes, we have hope of a future day, when we will attain the full stature of Christ (II) -- yet for now we must live from day to day:  leading a life worthy of the calling to which [we] have been called (cf. II): the future and the present mixed together.

            And yes, we bask in glory today, for the Lord Jesus has been taken up into heaven and [sits] at the right hand of God (G) -- yet we must live beneath the heavens: with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another (II): glory and humility mixed together.

            And surely, we know Christ ascended on high [to] make captivity itself a captive -- yet we sometimes live in the lower parts of the earth (II) which hold us in bondage: freedom and captivity mixed together.

            So then, our craving for future glory and freedom must, for the time being, be content with Christ’s presence in absence, presence in mystery: that is, content with the Holy Spirit and the Eucharist.  For in the Spirit, Jesus dwells with the Church, as in a temple.  And in the Eucharist, he remains with us, making us one body and one Spirit (II).

            So when God seems absent, hidden by a cloud that recedes further and further from our sight, the Spirit and the Eucharist show us God’s mysterious presence.  And when God seems close, his presence billowing around us like a bright cloud, the Spirit and the Eucharist let us dwell already in heavenly realms (Prayer over the Gifts).  To God then, be the glory, through Christ Jesus, in the Holy Spirit, forever, and ever.  Amen.



Intercessions (Peter Scagnelli; Prayers for Sundays and Seasons)

Let us offer our petitions through the Lord Jesus, who was taken up to heaven and intercedes for us at the right hand of God.

For all who share one Lord, one faith, one baptism: Adorned with a rich variety of gifts, may the church bear witness to the ends of the earth.

For all races and nations: May the church of the one God and Father of all make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

For prisoners of conscience and others held captive: By the gift of grace, may they persevere in humility and patience.

For the neophytes, baptized with the Holy Spirit and called to witness: Together may we and they come to the maturity of the full stature of Christ.

For the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers in our community and throughout the church: May their work of ministry build up the body of Christ in unity of faith.

For our community’s mission to go forth and proclaim the good news: May we sense the Lord working with us and confirming the message.

For those taken from our sight by death: May they live with Christ in glory at the right hand of God.

God of power and might,  in the mystery of the ascension you have raised up and glorified your Son and exalted our humanity at your right hand. Confirm the good news your Church proclaims, so that when Christ returns in glory  all nations may be gathered into the kingdom, where he lives and reigns with you now and always in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen. (ICEL; 1998)

Interlude (Words: Christopher Wordsworth)


See, the Conqu'ror mounts in triumph;
See the King in royal state,
Riding on the clouds, his chariot,
To his heav'nly palace gate:
Hark! the choirs of angel voices
Joyful Alleluias sing
And the portals high are lifted
To receive their heav'nly King.

Who is this that comes in glory,
With the trump of jubilee?
Lord of battles, God of armies,
He has gained the victory;
He who on the cross did suffer,
He who from the grave arose,
He has vanquished sin and Satan,
He by death has spoiled his foes.

Thou hast raised our human nature
In the clouds to God's right hand;
There we sit in heav'nly places,
There with thee in glory stand:
Jesus reigns, adored by angels,
Man with God is on the throne;
Mighty Lord, in thine ascension
We by faith behold our own.

Glory be to God the Father,
glory be to God the Son,
dying, risen, ascending for us,
who the heavenly realm has won;
glory to the Holy Spirit,
to One God in persons Three;
glory both in earth and heaven,
glory, endless glory, be.

Lord’s Prayer

Let us pray to do the will of God on earth as in heaven where the Lord of glory is seated at the right hand of the Father…

Spiritual Communion

Lord Jesus, you have made us into one Body, and though we are deprived today of the Eucharist you are within us through the gift of the Spirit. By your indwelling Presence keep us united to you in a spiritual Communion together with all the members of your Body whose fullness fills the whole creation.


Closing Hymn (Charles Wesley)